Archive for April, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

What breakfast could possible be more special than homemade cinnamon rolls?  I can’t think of one, partly because these are so good and partly because they should only be enjoyed on rare occasions, which is no problem once you realize the investment of time (about three hours) required for these little babies.  Yep, you read correctly, three hours!

Cinnamon Rolls

But most of that time you aren’t actually working, just sitting around waiting on the dough to rise, and I discovered that you can do most of the work and waiting the night before, and just pop them in the oven in the morning. Otherwise I would never have made these–I don’t care if the pope is coming over, I will not get up three hours early to make breakfast (even if I were Catholic).

Cinnamon Rolls

Another up side is that these freeze beautifully.  I baked half of them and saved the other half in the freezer for a couple of weeks, and they still tasted just as good.  So, do the work once, and you get the pleasure twice.  And if I still haven’t convinced you that you really should try these, then take another look and imagine that these could be yours, um, in a few hours.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe  Makes 18 cinnamon rolls

adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of Bon Appétit

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast (from 1 envelope yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make dough first:

  1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, about 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
  2. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Add additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl.
  4. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. (You may also use a KitchenAid’s dough hook for this process.) Form into ball.
  6. Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
  7. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Make filling while dough rises:

  1. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in medium bowl.

Once dough has risen:

  1. Press down dough. Transfer to floured work surface.
  2. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over butter.
  3. Starting at the longer side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up.
  4. With seam side down, trim ends straight if they are uneven.  Cut remaining dough crosswise with thin sharp knife (I used a bread knife) into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).
  5. Spray two 8 or 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
  6. Let dough rise in refrigerator over night, or in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Make glaze in the meantime and bake:

  1. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  2. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up and glaze.

Deviled Eggs

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Deviled Eggs

You either love them or you hate them, and if you hate them, chances are you just haven’t found the right recipe.  Everyone, at least every Southern woman, has a different recipe.  They all include eggs and mayonnaise, and most include at least one other secret ingredient to make them special.  I’ve tested a lot of deviled eggs in my day, secret ingredient including sweet relish, dill relish, horseradish, Worcestershire, onion, and only God knows what else, and it seems like nobody eats them, except, of course, the person who made them and raves about them.

My mom’s recipe is different.  It has the real secret ingredient, the one that makes deviled eggs irresistible to hordes.  This recipe is the one that people always insist she make and bring to gatherings, the one that never has a single leftover because adults young and old and kids of all ages gobble them. My brother can put down a half dozen himself.

Deviled Eggs

My sister made this particular batch.  She has more or less assumed the role of deviled egg maker in my family, which is fine by me, she takes the time to make them all pretty, whereas mine tend to look a little sloppy with egg yolk mixture everywhere.  I’m just here to document the goodness.

Deviled Eggs Recipe  Makes 12 eggs

adapted from my mom’s family cookbook Secret Ingredients

6 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® hot pepper sauce

  1. Hard boil eggs by placing them in a pot of water and putting on high heat.  Once the water begins to boil, wait ten minutes before removing from heat.  Cool by running cold water over them, and remove shells.
  2. Slice eggs in half lengthwise.
  3. Remove yolks and place them in small mixing bowl.
  4. Mash well and add mayonnaise, Tabasco, salt,  and pepper.  Blend well
  5. Spoon yolk mixture back into whites of eggs.
  6. Garnish with paprika.

Steak Marinade and Steak Kabobs

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Steak Kabobs

Fire up the grill, boys, the weather is warm and hibernation is over.  Forget competing with the neighbors on mowing the perfect lawn.  If you really want to make the neighbors jealous, then grill these steak kabobs and everybody on your block will have their mouths watering.  Yes, they really are that good, and they are even better if you grill them on hardwood charcoal.  Personally, I won’t use anything other than the Fresh Market’s charcoal because it just makes anything you grill so much tastier than the black coal stuff.

Steak Kabobs

You can go with your preference as far as what cut of steak to use.  This time, I used tri-tip steak, but I often go for ribeye.  I change up the vegetables depending on what is in season.  I love adding chunks of fresh tomatoes straight from the garden if I have them, but I think mushrooms are always a must.  No matter what you do, you really can’t go wrong, as long as you don’t overcook the meat.

Steak Kabobs

Steak Marinade and Steak Kabobs Recipe Makes 3-4 servings

Steak Marinade  Makes enough to marinate 1 1/2 pounds steak.

1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, chopped

  1. Combine all ingredients.

Steak Kabobs

1 1/2 pounds steak, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 onions, chunked
2 bell peppers, chunked
2 cups baby bella mushrooms, chopped in half
1 14.5 ounce can baby corn

  1. Marinate steak in refrigerator over night.
  2. Remove steak from refrigerator an hour before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak them for at least half an hour before assembling kabobs.
  4. Assemble kabobs by putting above ingredients on skewers in any order.
  5. Put on grill, rotating every 2 minutes (or as needed to reach desired doneness) to sear all sides.

Baked Spinach-Stuffed Ham Rolls

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I remember when I was a kid having ham rolls stuffed with spinach and cheese at a friends house, and I loved them.  I raved about them, to my mom, to my friend’s mom, to my friend, to my siblings, and to anyone else who had ears.  I think they all thought I was a little nuts.  What kid, kid who doesn’t even like ham really, falls in love with it when someone stuffs something green inside? Well, I was weird like that.  And since then, I’ve thought of those ham rolls and even told Russell how great they were and how I never got the recipe., even though I asked, because who gives recipes to kids.

I’ve thought for years that I would recreate what I had that day but never bothered for some silly reason.  I’ve looked through a few cookbooks and food blogs, hoping to find a recipe that would do, but I got nothing. Finally, I said the heck with it, I know how to stuff some spinach into ham, and that is what I did.  And, yes, it was everything that I remembered.  And no one should have to go another day without an official recipe for these.  They are perfect for any meal.  I had them for lunch, but I think they would be marvelous for breakfast alongside some hash-browns.

Baked Spinach-Stuffed Ham Rolls Recipe

1 10 ounce package frozen spinach, cooked and drained
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
24 slices thinly sliced ham
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine spinach, cream cheese, Monterey jack cheese, and feta cheese in small saucepan over medium low heat.  When cheese is melted, remove from heat.
  3. Put a small amount (about a tablespoon) of spinach mixture on slice of ham.  Roll up jelly-roll style.  Place in casserole dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  4. Sprinkle panko bread crumbs on top of ham rolls.  Then drizzle with heavy whipping cream.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

Zucchini Gratin

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Zucchini has an impressive repertoire.  Casserole, stir fry, bread; alone, stuffed, in salad or soup–zucchini does it all.  And with it coming in season around here, it is time to hit the kitchen (and grill outside) and start experimenting.  Over the weekend, I experimented with zucchini gone gratin.

It is simple and decadent, a few ingredients and a lot of flavor.  Slice it, layer it, bake it.  That’s about all there is to it.  Put it in an insulated bag and you got yourself the perfect potluck dish.  And if there is somebody around who just won’t eat their vegetables, a little cream and cheese usually help, and this recipe has plenty.

Zucchini Gratin Recipe  Makes about 5 servings.

6 medium size zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano-reggiano
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper

  1. Combine cream, thyme, and garlic in pot set over medium high heat. When cream begins to boil around the outer edges, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Butter a casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cover bottom of casserole dish with a layer of zucchini.   Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano, and bread crumbs.  Drizzle with heavy whipping cream.
  4. Repeat step 3 with remaining ingredients.
  5. Add a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  6. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Key Lime Cake

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Have you heard the good news?  Spring has sprung, daffodils have bloomed, temperatures have risen, and I have baked the ultimate cake to celebrate.  Key Lime Cake, yes cake, not pie. And according to my four-year-old niece, it is “deyicious.”

So there are kind of a lot of steps, and I have broken them down into even more for simplicity. But the end product is worth every one of them. It is just too scrumptious not to try, absolutely exploding with key lime flavor and sweetness. And the cake itself is so moist, so divine in its airiness that you won’t even remember the slightly complicated mixing process. It’s like forgetting the pain of childbirth when you see that little face, and you’re willing to do it all over again. Ok, so that is what the mothers say anyway. I haven’t actually had that experience myself, and I don’t mean to scare you, this cake really isn’t that difficult or time-consuming. It just feels a little hectic when ten people are running around the kitchen preparing the big Easter meal. So, without further rambling, please have some key lime cake!

Key Lime Cake Recipe

adapted from Cooks

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 key lime zested and juiced

For glaze:
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar

  1. Grease bundt pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift the salt, baking powder, and flour together.
  6. Alternately add the flour and cream to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour.
  7. Mix in juice and zest of key lime.
  8. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.  The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn onto a cake rack to let cool.

To make the glaze:

  1. Mix the sugar and key lime juice until smooth.
  2. Place a plate underneath the cake rack to catch excess glaze.
  3. While the cake is still warm, slowly drizzle the glaze on the cake so that the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove plate from underneath the cake rack and replace with a new plate.  Drizzle the glaze from the first plate over the cake.  Repeat this process until the cake has absorbed all the liquid.